Utopia recap: Episode 2, ‘Just A Fanboy’

(Center to Right): Jessica Rothe as Samantha, Ashleigh LaThrop as Becky, Dan Byrd as Ian, Desmin Borges as Wilson Wilson in Utopia - Courtesy of Elizabeth Morris / Amazon Studios
(Center to Right): Jessica Rothe as Samantha, Ashleigh LaThrop as Becky, Dan Byrd as Ian, Desmin Borges as Wilson Wilson in Utopia - Courtesy of Elizabeth Morris / Amazon Studios /

In Utopia episode 2, A huge discovery by our young fans is interrupted when they are thrust into the dangerous world of Jessica Hyde.

Utopia episode 2 begins with Ian, Sam and Becky accompanying Wilson to his home and taking refuge in his underground bunker. Inside, the group starts to pour over Wilson’s immense research on the original Dystopia comic. Ian also finally reveals that he has a photograph of a single page from Utopia. While inspecting it, they come across what appears to be a new virus and a hidden message that says, “this will be our undoing.”

Seeing that single panel reignites the group’s desire to get their hands on the complete comic book, so they try reaching out to Grant once again. In the meantime, Sam, Becky and Ian visit Dunkin’ Donuts for a caffeine refresher (Wilson refuses to go because he’s not into Big Caffeine or whatever).

More from Amazon Prime

Unfortunately, as is often the case, the second the group splits off into separate directions, that’s when tragedy strikes. Rod and Arby pull up to the house, somehow getting a “ping” from Becky. I’m a little unclear how they found Wilson’s home as I thought the group had neglected to put their cell phone numbers on the roster? But perhaps I missed something.

Regardless, they disguise themselves as men from the gas company come to check on a toxic leak. Once inside, they systematically kill Wilson’s entire family. When they’re finished, they find Wilson in his bunker and begin interrogating him for information on the boy (Grant), Utopia, and Jessica Hyde. Despite his claims that he knows nothing, the printed page of the Utopia panel does little to help his case.

Wilson pleads with the henchmen to leave him alone because he’s “just a fanboy,” but Arby and Rod enjoy the torture part of their job. Poor Wilson gets his eyeball salted, bleached, and then scooped out with a spoon. He would have died, too, if it weren’t for Jessica, who arrives just in time to throw an ax in Rod’s head while Arby kills Wilson’s younger sister (I felt that part was unnecessary, but more on that below), Wilson would be dead.

When Becky, Sam and Ian return, they find Jessica careening by in a car with a one-eyed Wilson screaming at them that Utopia is real! And they need to get in the car and get the heck out of dodge. Jessica drives them to a seemingly abandoned estate and tells the group they’ll each need to get new identities and completely change their looks. She forces them to burn their wallets and cell phones and then goes to Goodwill to shop for their new attire.

Everyone seems pretty willing to accept what Jessica says, except Ian, who has always been the group’s outlier — not quite willing to succumb to the conspiracy theories. At the house, Sam begins to realize that the Utopia panel might have foreshadowed the current epidemic killing children across the country.

In the picture, she notices what they previously thought was the symbol of a cross, but in actuality is the T-shaped rash showing up on the sick kids. Right now, the flu has only affected about 50 children, but it could just be the beginning of a very deadly pandemic, a.k.a. their “undoing.”

Ian isn’t swayed by this discovery and refuses to believe that Jessica is the same Jessica from the comic book. She pulls a gun on him. Sam pleads with Ian to just shut up and listen, so he doesn’t get himself killed. Finally, Ian relents and takes a seat with the others. But the biggest shock of the episode comes when Jessica suddenly turns her gun on Sam and shoots her dead.

“This group can’t have two leaders.” She says.

From this point on, they’re all living in Jessica’s world, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save her father.

Utopia episode 2
John Cusack (center holding glass) and Cory Michael Smith (right wearing tie) in Utopia episode 2 – Courtesy of Elizabeth Morris / Amazon Studios /

Utopia episode 2 recap: Introducing the dueling scientists.

Aside from the twists and turns of Jessica and the gang, Utopia episode 2 introduces us to two doctors who might be directly linked to the deadly flu. Dr. Kevin Christie (John Cusack) is the owner of Christie Labs, a company that specializes in making fake meat, for all intents and purposes. It’s synthetic meat that doesn’t need any valuable resources to make and can still benefit by giving people simple proteins.

During an interview with Hailey Alvez (Felisha Terrell), Kevin is questioned about his product and the company at large. He claims Simpro is even better than plant-based meats because it doesn’t require utilizing vast quantities of water to produce. Already, school cafeterias are serving the fake meat children throughout America. Kevin claims he even feeds it to his family.

Jumping on that line of questioning, Hailey points out that at multiple schools serving Simpro, children have become sick with the deadly strain of flu — only hours after eating the synthetic meat product. She asks him if he has considered the possibility that it is Simpro making the children sick.

More. Utopia recap: Episode 1, 'Life Begins'. light

Kevin argues that the flu cannot travel through meat, but as he’s already pointed out — Simpro isn’t technically meat. Flustered, he ends the interview early, causing it to become a viral sensation online.

At home, Kevin has a large and varied family, including son Thomas (Cory Michael Smith), who works alongside him. Every night over dinner, Kevin asks each of his kids to tell him one thing they did that day that proves they’ve earned their place in this crowded world. It’s an eerie refrain and one that directly hints at the possibility of Kevin being a villain. He’s obviously fascinated by overpopulation.

On the flip side, we meet Michael Stearns (Rainn Wilson). Once a lauded veterinary virologist who discovered a potentially deadly virus in the Andes Mountains, Michael has since fallen from the limelight and been relegated to a basement office where he is consistently railroaded and denied requests for new equipment to continue his research.

According to his boss, the dean at the research facility doesn’t even think about him. There is no room for his work in the budget. At one point, Michael’s flu strain was considered a threat, but now that they’ve determined it isn’t, he’s been deemed useless.

“Michael, be grateful she’s forgotten you.”

At home, Michael’s wife, Colleen (Jeanine Serralles), notices the T-shaped rash shared on the news broadcast. She tells Michael that it could be his flu. What if it somehow spread? Even though it’s unlikely, Colleen points out that in his research, he claimed it would be a “world-killer” capable of deadliness on par with the Spanish flu. At the very least, she encourages him to put in a request for a blood sample.

Utopia episode 2
Utopia episode 2 – Courtesy of Amazon Studios / Prime Video / Elizabeth Morris /

Utopia episode 2 recap: Grant remains on the lam.

I’m waiting to figure out what the deal is with Grant. We’ve seen the other members of the group talk about him frequently, but Grant hasn’t shown much interest in checking up with them. In this episode, he continues walking around with the comic book. It’s not clear where he’s headed or why. Eventually, he finds a garden with a blackberry bush and hungrily devours the fruit. A little girl named Alice (Farrah Mackenzie) spots him and invites him into the house for dinner.

Alice and her foster mother are happy to have Grant as a guest. His mom understands how discouraging and difficult the foster system can be and offers him a place to stay. For now, it looks Grant is willing to accept her kindness. Let’s hope these two don’t become the latest victims of the Harvest.

Next. 36 best science fiction TV series, ranked. dark

Odds & Ends from Utopia episode 2

  • Several critics have expressed frustration with the show’s needless violence. While I understand the motivation behind Wilson’s torture (and understand something similar happened in the original), I did feel like the massacre of Wilson’s family felt unnecessary. It might have happened, but showing it onscreen didn’t add anything to the story, especially the footnote of Arby killing his younger sister.
  • We already know Arby and Rod are evil. We saw what they did in the first episode. Showing them gassing the house didn’t add anything more to the story and even felt somewhat counterintuitive since none of those people had seen pages of Utopia. Their intentions to remain clean and cover their traces should have led them to stake out the house to corner Wilson, and potentially the others, alone.
  • Based on how Kevin talks to his family, I wonder if he is the mysterious Mr. Rabbit?

All eight episodes of Utopia season 1 are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.